Amery, Leopold, 1873-1955

Amery was a close friend of Winston CHURCHILL and one of the group of Members of Parliament who opposed CHAMBERLAIN’s policy of appeasement from the start. He had held office in 1929 but felthe could exert more influence from the back benches where he could freely express his opinion. He was a champion of rearmament and was highly critical of Chamberlain. On 7 May 1940 he had a famous outburst in a debate on the government’s handling of Germany’s invasion of Norway: he addressed Chamberlain using the words of Cromwell to the Long Parliament ‘You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you in the name of God, go!’

A few days later Winston Churchill became Prime Minister and Amery was appointed Secretary of State for India and Burma. He supervised military training in India in 1941 and in the face of the Japanese threat set up a special committee on India in February 1942 to advise Churchill. He held the appointment until the end of the war when he espoused the concept of the British Commonwealth. In the 1945 election he was another of the prominent Conservatives to lose his seat.

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